Saturday, March 24, 2007

Metadata and Ethics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Once again, an amazing presentation by David Hricik, joined by Todd Flaming from Schopf & Weiss.

Prof. Hricik gave the classic examples of where to find metadata in Office (Word>file>properties) and how to reveal track changes. A bit basic but I am always amazed by people reaction when they see that. I often image how to would react if they were aware of advanced softwares that offer even more!

It seems there is a "hidden text" feature in MSWord where the information regarding the table of content is embedded. The problem is when you use word count because it counts these hidden words... Imagine having your brief refused because there are to many words! I suspect there must be a way not to count the hidden data (to be verified).

Lawyers duties
1) Duty of care to avoid disclosure of confiential information
2) Is it ethical to look at the Metadata?

-MSWord and Word Perfect offer patches not to save metadata. Here is Word's.
-Scrubbers. I use the free Doc Scrubber

3) Duty upon receipt: Can you look?
NY: notify, dishonest to look
Florida: Notify, dishonest?
DC:? About to follow NY
Virginia: ? About to follow NY

ABA: No notification, dishonesty is irrelevant because everyone ought to know about metadata
Maryland: No notification, didn't address dishonesty

Prof. Hricik disagree with the ABA's opinion. Todd Flaming agree and disclosed to everyone that he will look at metadata of every opposing party. Me to!!

Todd Flaming

Brillant Starwars introduction about metadata with backgroung voice-beatbox music: Perfect!

An interactive overview of the new FRCP followed with Luke Courtstalker, Adobaka and his partners...

"Beware of the dark side of metadata, Luke!"

An attendee raised the fact there might be issues with scrubbing metadata:
-malpractice/personal liability suit
-solicitor-client privilege
I didn't understand the point... Anyone, help?

A brilliant impersonation to make it clearer!!

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